Sunday, January 12, 2014

Have You Been Scanned for 3D?

I’ve been following the development of 3D printing for a while. The most notorious coverage has been for 3D gun manufacturing, I realize. But the potential is truly so much larger. To begin, 3D printing is the process of using a drafting software to capture layers and print an object, one dimension beyond software the allowed for dimensional drawing on a flat surface as defined by Oxford:

How does this work? This quick video that lays out the basics and the range of development:

Recently, I’ve been following the very exciting sector of bioprinting and what it might offer medically. In this example, bioprinting is used to “print “ cells right onto a patient’s burn, to speed the development of new skin: 

I’d read about an exhibit exploring 3D developments this fall in the NY Times. When the opportunity to visit the The Museum of Art and Design in NYC in December, ( I put it high up on the list of places to visit. A current exhibit titled, “Beyond Hands” spans three floors that showcase how 3D is impacting everything from wearables, to weavables, and furniture.

We had the opportunity to visit with one of the designers in residence as well. She expressed enthusiasm for the variety of materials being tried as the material from which the 3D items are manufactured, everything from plastics, to paper, to metal, and plant extracts for bio-degradables. As a designer of wearable technology, she had not been pleased with the fact that the plastics were not washable, a problem for items worn against the skin.

One exhibitor ( invited attendees to stand on a rotating platform and have a body scan that could be printed into a tiny 3D figure. One of my family members and myself decided to enjoy the experience. And here’s the process of my scan filmed by our daughter. Captured in the less than 2 minute video are the use of the camera, and the exhibit of the scanned person onto the software on the computer.


I had an interesting reaction to this experience. I know I am not totally pleased with my physical appearance, but for whatever reason, I thought, “ Well this is who I am, what I look like.” It was a moment of acceptance, which surprised me—an unexpected bi-product.

And my action figure arrived just this week!  I’ve had some humorous moments thinking about a collection of these with family members or with office teams—you could replay moments of family reunions with the therapist, or work through team dynamics played out by these action figures.

A few days after the arrival, an Hershey's announced printable chocolate: So imagine possilbe 3D action favors...

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Connecting Social Media to Exhibits: From Not-So-Good to Good

Between November and December of 2013, I had the opportunity to visit a number of art and Smithsonian museums in Denver, Washington, DC, and New York.

While each of the items below show one way engagement, they are examples of curatorial techniques intended to increase viewer engagement and enjoyment through the provision of additional  digital content about the exhibit.

The use of social media to provide more information for the public is something I typically look for. Museums are connecting the public through Facebook and Websites, and then provide QR codes or recordings available from mobile phones.

Some experiences were better than others. For example, I was excited to see QR codes in the Western Art area of Denver Art Museum (DAM) at, but could not get them to play after I scanned them. I thought, well maybe the network is overloaded, or maybe my phone can pull up the web inside the current architecture, but the QR’s would not play even when I tried them at home. More work/information/support is needed for these. In digging around on the web, I found an app for DAM QR, but the user commented that he or she was not able to read any of the QR’s either.

A really good experience with QR was at the National Botanical Gardens in DC, I was able to clearly listen to a recording about plants before the development of flowers. It was short in duration, which probably indicates attention to the average attention span, and forwarding traffic flow through the particular exhibit.

Last in this set of observations was the Museum of Art and Design in NY. The signage for a special exhibit, Out of Hand (digital printing) was very good.  It included information on how to access audio remarks with mobile devices. Exhibits were numbered to correlate with the recordings on the mobile website:
The museum site also included videos about the exhibit.